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American Folk Art Museum: National Traveling Exhibition

For the fifth grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation has awarded $1.6 million to the American Folk Art Museum, to support a national traveling exhibition of masterworks from the Museum’s collection.

Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum will feature more than 100 works of art that celebrate the singular power of folk art and art by the self-taught. Whether whirligigs or quilts, drawings or paintings, carvings or constructions, the objects reveal highly personal narratives that reflect the challenges and triumphs of an emerging nation and its evolving national identity.


   ('Flag Gate' c. 1876, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr. in honor of Neal A. Prince.
Photo by John Parnell)


This grant from the Luce Foundation will both fund the initial exhibition in New York City from May 13 through August 17, 2014, and allow the show to travel to five venues throughout the country during the next three years, making the Museum’s extraordinary and unique collection accessible to a wider audience.

Ellen Holtzman, the Luce Foundation’s program director for American art, commented that “The grant to the American Folk Art Museum epitomizes the Luce Foundation’s 30-year commitment to raising awareness of the rich scope of American visual art. The national tour is designed to reach maximum audiences across the country, expanding appreciation of the Museum and its signature collection.”

Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director of the American Folk Art Museum, said, “We are profoundly honored. The Luce Foundation’s recognition of our unique mission and wonderful collection and programs allows us to share part of our treasures with a national audience in a direct and powerful manner. The Foundation’s support goes beyond the American Folk Art Museum to celebrate great works that have shaped our country’s heritage and creativity.”



 75th Anniversary Initiative


This grant was part of a special initiative celebrating the Luce Foundation’s 75th anniversary and honoring the vision of our founder, Henry R. Luce. Over the course of two years, the Foundation awarded a series of seven major grants fostering innovation in our historic areas of interest, including leadership, service, scholarship, communication, and international understanding.


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“The Luce Foundation’s recognition of our unique mission and wonderful collection and programs allows us to share part of our treasures with a national audience in a direct and powerful manner. The Foundation’s support goes beyond the American Folk Art Museum to celebrate great works that have shaped our country’s heritage and creativity.”
- Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director of the American Folk Art Museum